Trick or cheap. I went in search of the best deals on Halloween candy last week.
Does anyone really go from retailer to retailer in search of the best price on a few bags of candy? Scary thought. Still, I was curious to see which retailer took the biggest bite out of its candy profits. Aldi? Costco? Menards? Sam's Club, Target, Walgreens?
My hunch was that Aldi would have the lowest price for medium-size candy bags. (Candy is one of the few categories at Aldi in which brand names are common.) I figured Sam's Club would have the lowest price on bags as big and plump as a pillow. Was I right?
Maybe half-right. Aldi's prices on M&M's, Hershey's jumbo bag, Tootsie Roll miniatures, Smarties and Reese's snack-size Peanut Butter Cups were lower than any competitor's regular price. (The warehouse clubs didn't have similar assortments to compare.) But Aldi's price was usually higher than the sale price at a competitor. For example, at Walgreens last week, a 50-piece, 29.6-ounce fun-size bag of M&M's was $5.99 on sale. Aldi's everyday low price is $6.49. But when Walgreens didn't have an item on sale, its prices weren't competitive. A 20.1-ounce jumbo bag of Hershey's chocolates is $6.99 at Walgreens, $4.49 at Aldi.
What conclusions can I draw on my price check?
• Shop Aldi for the lowest everyday prices on small to medium-sized bags of candy.
• Look for candy on sale at discounters. Target's, Wal-Mart's or Walgreens' sale prices are usually lower than regular prices at Aldi.
• Try Costco or Sam's Club for one large bag of assorted candies at a low price. Costco sells a 90-ounce bag with 150 pieces of Mars, Hershey and Nestle chocolate bars for $14. Sam's Club sells a 56.8-ounce bag with 105 Snickers, Twix, M&M's, Three Musketeers and Milky Way for $10.
• Try Menards for the lowest sale prices. A Kiddie Mix with 2.5 pounds of lollipops, SweetTarts, SuperBubble, Jaw Breakers and Smarties is only $1.99 after the mail-in rebate (regularly $3.49). At only 6 cents per ounce after the stamp and mail-in rebate, it's the best deal I found. And it's packaged by Farley's of Round Lake, Minn. Farley's Chewy Mix -- Caramel Creams, Bit-o-Honey, assorted toffee -- is a similar bargain after the rebate.
John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or email@example.com. If you spot a deal, share it at www.startribune. com/blogs/dealspotter.